A calm, cosy, place for contemplation
This space is named after Lady Grey of Naunton, Esmé Burcher, wife of Lord Grey of Naunton, who was the last Governor of Northern Ireland. Government House, as Hillsborough Castle was then known, was home to Lord and Lady Grey from 1968 to 1973.
See the Good Friday Agreement
This intimate room played a pivotal role in the Peace Talks, often hosting small one-to-one discussions or bilateral talks.
To mark Hillsborough Castle’s role in the negotiations, the Good Friday Agreement has returned to where these negotiations took place. You can now see up-close this vital document, in the 25th anniversary year.
The Belfast Good Friday Agreement is on loan from the National Archives, and can be visited until 30 September 2023.
Image: The Good Friday Agreement on display at Hillsborough Castle.
A versatile room
The room has been used as a study since 1936, two years after the disastrous fire that destroyed many parts of the original building. Originally, this space housed a servants' staircase that led to the Marchioness of Downshire’s suite of rooms – her bedroom, dressing room and boudoir.
Lady Grey’s Study was often used for small one-to-one discussions or bilateral talks during the peace process. It was used as the Sinn Fein office during the talks that culminated in the Hillsborough Agreement of 2010.
It was also the scene of a secret meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush before strategic talks on the progress of the newly started invasion of Iraq in 2003.
PREPARING THE PEACE
A collection of preparatory sketches of official portraits which now hang in institutions all over the world are displayed together in Lady Grey’s Study.
A range of styles and types of work are included, but the works are all connected by the sitters who attended Peace Talks at Hillsborough Castle.
Hillsborough Castle has been at the heart of Northern Ireland’s political life for decades; not only have many political leaders, local, national and international, visited Hillsborough, it has also been the chosen space for peace negotiations that have defined modern political history. Many of these high-profile individuals are included in the portraits displayed here: British Prime Ministers, Presidents of the United States, Taioseachs of Ireland, Secretaries of State and many local politicians from across the political spectrum take their place here side by side.
THE ART OF PORTRAITURE
Portraiture is both an extremely public and highly personal art form. Many of the final works related to these preparatory studies and maquettes were commissioned and displayed by museums and galleries of international significance.
This hang explores the intimate nature of the artists’ methods. Amongst the works included are drawings and sketches made during sittings or in the preparation of a piece, photographs of a formal portrait at a number of stages, various studies of figures and groups, a painting of a room where a sitting took place, a maquette for a large bronze and a cast of a sitter’s hands.
Watch: Preparing the Peace at Hillsborough Castle
A collection of preparatory sketches of official portraits which now hang in institutions all over the world are displayed together in Lady Grey’s Study at Hillsborough Castle, in an art hang called Preparing the Peace. A range of styles and types of work are included, but the works are all connected by the sitters who attended Peace Talks at Hillsborough Castle.
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